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Christian bakery shop owner Jack Phillips has been sued by a transgender activist whose initial complaint against him was thrown out in 2019.
In March of last year, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission dropped its investigation into a 2017 allegation from activist and attorney Autumn Scardina that Phillips refused to bake a cake celebrating Scardina’s decision to self-identify as a woman instead of a man, The Washington Times reported.
Scardina then filed a civil suit against Phillips in June over the same allegations.
That suit went before a Colorado state judge on Thursday, according to the Christian Post.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which has represented Phillips in the past, has requested that the suit be dismissed.
Phillips received national attention when he waged a 6-year-legal fight that ended with a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in his favor.
Phillips had refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2012.
Scardina is seeking more than $100,000 in damages, fines and attorney’s fees, and claimed Phillips violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act and Consumer Protection Act by declining to bake the cake requested by the activist in 2017.
“Jack’s legal journey is still not over! The individual who requested the gender-transition cake (and who also happens to be an attorney) wasn’t satisfied and decided to sue Jack in state court,” the ADF said on its website.
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“We live in a country where freedom of speech and religious liberty are protected. While we may disagree on certain issues, we should all be free to live and work according to our beliefs. Jack Phillips, just like every creative professional, has the right to decline to use his artistic abilities to express messages or celebrate events he disagrees with,” the ADF news release added.
“But over the course of Jack’s legal battle, one thing has become abundantly clear: For some, it will never be enough to politely agree to disagree about important issues like the meaning of marriage or whether to celebrate a gender transition.”
The ADF said the attack on Phillips is not about equality, it is about punishing Phillips for his faith.
“For some, it won’t be enough until Masterpiece Cakeshop closes its doors and Jack Phillips is in financial ruin. They want Jack, an average American business owner, to pay a hefty price — all because he wants to live according to his faith,” the news release said.
“Every American should have the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment. Jack serves everyone; what he can’t do is create custom cake art that celebrates events or expresses messages in conflict with his religious beliefs. And now, he is being threatened with financial ruin for exercising this freedom. It is time to leave Jack alone.”
The lawsuit “could cost me everything,” he said.
“I already lost 40 percent of my business and more than half of my employees during the first case,” Phillips added. “I still haven’t regained that income, nor been able to resume creating custom cake art for weddings. During this current coronavirus, I’ve been hit just as badly as many other small business owners.”
“This attorney’s relentless pursuit of Jack was an obvious attempt to punish him for his views, banish him from the marketplace, and financially ruin him and his shop,” ADF attorney Jake Warner said. “For these reasons and others, we are asking the court to dismiss this case.”
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